JANUARY. Jarom and I had a mini-vacation in Salt Lake. We saw the first Hobbit movie (it was awful) and went antique shopping. Then, back to real life.
FEBRUARY. I offered to do a lot of custom invitations to use to build my portfolio, so to speak. Unfortunately, I bit off more than I could chew and fell behind! We traveled to Southern California for Jarom’s grandmother’s funeral. Evan turned 4 and had a really amazing birthday party. He also started being much, much nicer than he had been as a 3-year-old.
MARCH. Our world turned upside-down when a routine 20-week ultrasound revealed that our third baby wouldn’t live. We spent the rest of the month reeling from the shock and trying to adjust.
APRIL. Most of the focus was on preparing for Christian’s birth and death. We were able to have our parents with us in the hospital and spend a short time together with Christian. He was buried in Springville a few days later.
MAY. Lost to grief.
JUNE. Lost to grief.
JULY. Lost to grief, except the surprise birthday party Jarom threw for me.
AUGUST. The week of my due date, I hosted a baby shower for my dear friend Bridget, who had moved to Alaska in May. Despite my good intentions, it was just too much and I had to run off to the bathroom to cry partway through. On the plus side, I made some really great carrot cupcakes for the shower. And once I was past my due date, the baby shower, and the birth of several friends’ babies, I started to feel more like myself again. Jarom and I even went on our traditional date to the law school Founders’ Day dinner and mini-vacation overnight.
SEPTEMBER. Evan started preschool! I put a lot of work into my Etsy shop (which is currently closed, sorry). We found a lost dog and held onto him for a few days until his owners contacted us.
OCTOBER. I spent a week and a half in California visiting my parents. It was incredibly relaxed and stress-free – almost like a real vacation! Jarom got a much-needed and much-deserved raise at work. Junebug turned 3. Evan was Superman for Halloween; June was a mermaid.
NOVEMBER. Evan watched The Princess Bride and became obsessed. Both kids got croup, and then I did, too. Our blog posts about Christian were adapted into a story and published. Also, Jarom crashed my car.
DECEMBER. Jarom got another raise! My parents and sister came for the holidays. We saw real reindeer at Thanksgiving Point. Christmas was full of good food; Jarom and I had to forgo presents for ourselves so we could save up for a new (to us) car. We had two meetings with a grief counselor to see if we’re grieving appropriately (basically yes). With fingers crossed, we look forward to 2014 and hope there are NO deaths in our family next year!
JANUARY. It was so exciting to start our final semester of school. I read a lot of fiction during the first few weeks, before things got crazy. I had 2 on-campus classes and 1 independent study course, which seemed much easier after two full-time semesters. I started a one-line-a-day journal that will last me until approximately 2024. Evan was briefly interested in potty training, but went back to diapers after a few days. I finalized the design for our graduation announcements and sent them to the printer. When our handyman had to come do repairs on the kitchen sink, I hid piles of dirty dishes in the laundry room.
FEBRUARY. A friend commissioned me to do some custom name artwork, and it was so fun that I decided to open an Etsy shop after graduation. (Still more or less in the works.) I got into midterms, Evan turned 3 and had a Totoro-themed birthday party, and Jarom started interviewing for jobs after graduation. I took Evan to class with me a few times because I had to show him off. June started saying real words like “Totoro.” Adorable.
MARCH. The kids dumped a big tub of donut holes into a diaper box. I struggled with whether I wanted to do law school sooner or later or not at all. Jarom had his final paper to work on, as well as job interviews and the stress of classes. I might have used the kids as a (not entirely legitimate) excuse for turning things in late and not going to class. We got an ant infestation in the laundry room. One morning, June woke up at 3am, I had a paper due, and when I ran into a friend on campus, I offered to babysit her son for 4 hours that night. I began to think there was something seriously wrong with me. We went to the midnight showing of Hunger Games, I was a jury member for Jarom’s mock trial, I wrote an editorial for the BYU paper, and we drove to Las Vegas and back in one day.
APRIL. Krista took my kids overnight so I could work on school stuff – what a lifesaver! I finished all my papers, took finals, and…DONE with college! Jena & Bryan and my parents came out for graduation, and we had a biiiiiiiig party to celebrate finally being done. I drove Jarom’s cousin down to California and came back the next day. The biggest news: Jarom accepted a job offer in Orem! A job! In Orem! It started as soon as he finished his internship with the city, so we ended up without any jobless days. What a blessing!
MAY. Without the busyness of school, I started reading again with a vengeance. I made orange chocolate chip cookies and they are to die for. We had a congratulatory dinner with Jarom’s parents for our Mad Skillz of Graduating. June started going to nursery at church, which was beautifully amazing. I fell in love with an old house in Provo and talked Jarom into going to see it with me – fortunately, it didn’t work out, but it did get us thinking about buying a house. We made our first offer on a house toward the end of the month (it was turned down) and went on a weekend vacation with Jarom’s family. I went to see the house we now live in and adored it so much, I almost made an offer without Jarom. Fortunately he loved it too!
JUNE. Most of the month was lost to house-related stuff, like packing and cleaning. Jarom was studying for the bar in the evenings, so I did a lot on my own. Krista took the kids the night before we moved, which meant Jarom and I could go out to dinner to celebrate our big year: graduation, 5 years of marriage, buying our first house, knowing each other for half our lives. And then – moving day! Apparently I planned well, because loading and unloading the truck was done in under 3 hours. Good, right?
JULY. Making cookies in MY REAL OVEN for the first time in years was wonderful. We went to a barbecue with Jarom’s coworkers, and I started becoming friends with some of the other wives. I’d tried going without internet in the house but quickly gave up. Jarom’s parents bought us a fabulous washer and dryer. Evan really truly switched out of diapers. I got a piano for my birthday (and Jarom and Quentin moved it by themselves!). Jarom took the bar!
AUGUST. I got a big bookcase and a nice long desk for a studio-type setup. Jarom ended up in the ER with gallstones and had surgery a few days later. I did Part 1 of the Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment (and sometime I’ll get around to Part 2). Jarom and Evan went camping; June painted the floor with poop while they were gone. In a period of 3 days I found out that our homeowner’s insurance AND our health insurance were being cancelled. (Both were resolved, but it was a stressful time!) June flushed pajamas and toys down the toilet, so Jarom’s dad came and fixed it. We went to the Founders Day dinner and got to hear Elder Oaks speak. Our housewarming party was a huge success – if only the clean house had lasted! I drove out to California to visit friends and family.
SEPTEMBER. A few days after we got to my parents’ house, the kids both got croup. High fevers and nasty coughs and late nights…thankfully my mom entertained the kids during the day so I could sneak in some naps. We made it down to see Alicia and headed over to Jena’s, but by then the kids and I were worn out and homesick and beyond grouchy. I changed my plans and came home 5 days early. I’m glad I did, because that Saturday we found out that JAROM PASSED THE BAR!!! We made Liège waffles with Nutella, strawberries, and whipped cream (you must eat them). I started a book club. Kimberlee had her baby girl. We found a cheap cabinet at a garage sale and refinished it to match our other furniture. The broken tile in our bathroom finally got repaired – it was supposed to be fixed before we moved in!
OCTOBER. I got called to be the second counselor in Young Women’s. Jarom went to Albuquerque on business. I was able to listen to all of General Conference! I really, really started working seriously on stuff for my Etsy shop. One day I cleaned 5 rooms in 4 hours and was rewarded with Indian food. The next day I took the kids to the zoo. The next day I helped Krista clean for 5 hours. Jarom and I spoke in church about love at home (a topic I am vastly unqualified to talk about). Jarom got sworn in as a lawyer!! I got a sewing machine as a graduation gift from Jarom’s parents. I spent hours picking up horse chestnuts in our yard and decided the tree is less awesome in the fall. June turned 2! Halloween was lame! (But the kids were super cute.)
NOVEMBER. We got a dog. Jarom’s car started having trouble. There was a windstorm that knocked most of the leaves off our big tree, followed by a snowstorm that covered up all the leaves. I stayed up all night cleaning the house before vacation – and it was really spotless. Then I slept through all of Thanksgiving. It was nice to see family, and nice to have a tv in our room…but nicest of all to have Jarom take the kids so I could be left alone in the king-size bed. When we got back, I spent a week being embarrassed by the yard before finally raking and mowing (with a lot of help from my visiting teacher and father-in-law!).
DECEMBER. Jarom had a bunch of friends over to help with his car, but we were still down to one car for most of the month. Nevertheless, I’m extremely grateful for all the people who were out there in the freezing cold with Jarom, taking apart engines and putting them back together. I’ve heard that guys enjoy working on cars, so maybe it wasn’t such a horrible ordeal for them. We went for the biggest Christmas tree we could get, struggled to make it stand up straight, and finally put lights on – but no ornaments ever made it up. Our power went out in the middle of the day after a big, big snowstorm. It was a great experience to have our first Christmas in our new house, and watching the kids open their stockings and presents was really fun. We also loved having all of Jarom’s family together for the holidays – but it’s too bad it came at the price of a nasty bug spreading throughout the family. At the close of the year, it’s amazing to think of all that’s happened since January. But believe it or not, we anticipate more big changes in 2013!
JANUARY. Jarom and I struggled to get used to both being in school, and were still adjusting to life with 2 kids. The semester started off well, and it actually made our marriage a lot more balanced to be switching off childcare every few hours. Busy, yes – very busy. But enjoyable. I even went so far as to declare that we were thriving.
FEBRUARY. School got a little trickier. And having two kids got a little trickier. I tried joining a book club, so that I’d have some hope at sanity, but since I was taking evening classes I couldn’t usually go to the meetings. The kids kept growing: Evan was talking in short sentences, and turned 2 at the end of the month; by then he could sing “Happy Birthday,” more or less. Also, he stole my blanket (earliest reference here). I entered an essay contest on campus, which I sadly lost; the winner turned out to be a poorly-written but emotionally manipulative essay. Jarom and I went to the ballet (Sleeping Beauty) as one of my Christmas gifts. Fantastic! Oh, and my one-credit block class ended, thankfully. It was the first time I lost points on a paper for being “too academic.”
MARCH. More busy lives, more snow, more slump. Suddenly (?) doing school full-time seemed like a bad move, but I was determined to keep going so I could graduate with Jarom in 2012. The month was fairly lost to papers, tests, and lots of (school-related) reading.
APRIL. Jarom got a job lined up for the summer that would continue through the school year. We are so, so lucky to have found something that let us stay put for the summer, and not worry as much about finances during the last year of school. And as for school itself? Survived! After a frantic few weeks at the end of the semester, I finished my papers and tests and got a 4.0. Yeah, I will brag about it again because it was super amazing. The downside was that Jarom and I both had nasty sinus infections for most of April, and once we got over those, Evan came down with roseola. (Caught roseola? What’s the correct terminology here?) I tell you, a toddler with an IV is not fun for anyone. Poor Evan! Not to be upstaged, June started crawling. Well played, June.
MAY. I took the summer off from school. I also kind of took it off from plans, so May was mainly spent playing with my kids. Stay-at-home mom FTW! Notable events from May were limited to our anniversary, an Oregon Trail birthday cake, and Jarom’s extra long fishing exursion.
JUNE. The kids and I found a caterpillar, so that Caterpillar was his name, and we called him Alexander and he answered just the same. (Oops. Sorry.) But really, that was a highlight of the summer. Evan and I loved watching the caterpillar grow! I drove back to California with the kids for my brother’s wedding. Jarom painted the living room for me while I was gone. I painted a galaxy for him in return.
JULY. The big deal: Harry Potter, of course! Also my birthday. The kids and I got to go spend a week in Tahoe with Jarom’s family (he had to stay behind and work). Because he’d still be working during the semester, when both of us were in school again, we bought a second car. It’s a pretty sweet car.
AUGUST. I got a streak of purple in my hair. Jarom and I went to see Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (always my favorite). Our good friends had their first baby! (And I was temporarily convinced that I wanted another baby, too.) Best of all, I took a night off from being a mom; Jarom and I spent the night in Salt Lake while our very generous relatives looked after Evan and June.
SEPTEMBER. Back to school. I thought things would be fine, since I handled the past semester so well, but with the addition of Jarom working 20 hours a week, life was beyond hectic. I made arrangements for my neighbor to babysit my kids while I was in class – possibly the only thing that kept me sane. I started taking art classes once a week, also from my neighbor, as an additional sanity safety measure. June said her first word: “Evan.” Loud and clear.
OCTOBER. I got so stressed about school that I went to see a counselor for help. Well, it was a nice idea. In October alone I had 5 tests, and I was only taking 4 classes. Not to complain or anything, but it was way more than I felt like I could handle. The month was one panicked how-do-I-survive. Bright spot: June started walking and turned one! We sure adore her.
NOVEMBER. The panic lasted until just before Thanksgiving break, when school calmed down a little. Just to keep me on my toes, both kids AND Jarom got Hand, Foot & Mouth disease, which meant they were all contagious and we couldn’t go to Thanksgiving dinner with family. Everyone was miserable, except me; Jarom missed school because he was sick, and I missed school because I was busy taking care of everyone.
DECEMBER. Convinced that the semester would be a complete failure, I went to see another counselor, a much more helpful one. I also spoke with one of my professors and got some insight that was even better than what the counselor told me. With an extra boost of optimism and a little who-cares-anyway, I made it through the end of the semester. (If you’re wondering, I ended up with a 3.6. Considering I expected about a 2.5, not too bad!) All of us were glad to be done with tests and papers, especially since it meant we got to take a train ride to California. Evan couldn’t sleep the night before because he was so excited. A comfortable week in Northern California visiting friends and family was the perfect way to relax and enjoy ourselves. I read over 3,000 pages on our trip! Then it was back to Utah to get ready for one last (very last!) semester. I can’t wait for all the changes 2012 will bring!